Proposal calls for 5 percent 'across-the-board' hike in ferry fares

Ferry fares would increase by 5 percent over the next year as part of a proposal backed by the state transportation commission.  - Journal file photo
Ferry fares would increase by 5 percent over the next year as part of a proposal backed by the state transportation commission.
— image credit: Journal file photo

Death and taxes.

They're the only two things in this world Benjamin Franklin famously said that one can be certain of.

Had he lived in Puget Sound, Franklin might have added ferry fares going up to the list.

The price of riding on Washington State Ferries is slated to go up by 3 percent for vehicles and 2 percent for passengers as part of a proposal backed by the Washington State Transportation Commission. If adopted, the across-the-board increase in fares would go into effect beginning Oct. 1, and would then be followed by a 2.5 increase on vehicles and 2 precent increase for passengers on May 1, 2014.

As proposed, the uptick in fares is designed to meet a ferry-fare-revenue target set by the Legislature and recently enacted as part of the 2013-2015 state transportation budget. That targeted amount — $328 million — represents a 6-percent increase over the $310 million in fare revenue that WSF was expected to generate in the previous two-year transportation budget.

The Transportation Commission will be seeking input on its proposed fare increase at a series of public meetings, beginning Monday, July 8, in the San Juan Islands and in Anacortes. The meeting in the San Juans will be onboard the inter-island ferry that departs Friday Harbor at 11:35 a.m.

The commission proposal also includes: Vehicles under 14 feet would be charged 70 percent of the standard vehicle fare (14 feet to less than 22 feet), elimination of a surcharge for oversized motorcycles, and a reduction in the youth discounted fare from its current 20 percent down to 50 percent off full-fare price.

Following the public meetings, the Transportation Commission is expected to make a final decision when it meets Tuesday, July 30, at Union Station in Seattle, beginning at 3 p.m.

Comments can on the proposal can be made by emailing, or by calling 360-705-7070, or by mail, WSTC Fare Proposal, PO Box 47308, Olympia, WA 98504-7308.

More details can be found on the commission’s web site at:

— Scott Rasmussen



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